Windows 10 includes a lot of interesting new tools, but if you’re like a lot of computer users, more and more of your digital life is happening in your web browser and nowhere else. That being the case, you’ll want to keep your most important websites close at hand. The easiest way to access them in Windows 10 is the new Start Menu and the Task Bar, treating them more or less like programs in and of themselves.
Getting a website from your browser to your Start Menu or Task Bar is a little different depending on which browser you’re using. Before we begin, open the following folder in the Windows Explorer file manager: Windows>Users>[your username]>AppData>Roaming>Microsoft>Windows>Start Menu>Programs. You may need to enable hidden items by clicking “View,” then clicking the box marked “Hidden Items.”
Windows 10 includes two Internet browsers by default: Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge. The former is the choice for people who are more comfortable with earlier versions of IE. To get started, open Internet Explorer and navigate to the page you want to save, then make sure the window isn’t maximized and that you can see the desktop below.
Directly to the left of the URL bar (the area where the website’s address appears) is an icon for the address. Click and drag the icon to the desktop beneath the Internet Explorer window. This will create a shortcut to the address.
To place this shortcut on the Task Bar rather than the desktop itself, right-click the shortcut and select “pin to Task Bar.” Click the Task Bar item and drag it to the left or right to rearrange the order. To pin it to the Start Menu, click the desktop shortcut and press Ctrl + C. Now open File Explorer and paste (Ctrl + V). Now the link will appear in the All Apps section of the Start Menu, and if you open it on a regular basis, it will also appear in the “Most Used” section.
The Edge browser has a simpler interface than Internet Explorer. Open your desired web page, then click the menu icon (the three horizontal dots in the upper right corner). Click “pin to Start.” The link will appear in the Live Tile area of the Start Menu (the squares in the scrollable section on the right).
To pin the link to the Task Bar (or to put it in the All Apps section of the Start Menu instead of the Live Tiles area), open Microsoft Edge again and click the menu button again. Click “open with Internet Explorer,” then follow the instructions above.
To pin a website from Chrome to the All Apps section of the Start Menu, follow the same process as Internet Explorer above. The website icon is in the same place, to the left of the URL bar.
Chrome includes another way to pin items to the Task Bar, and it’s especially handy if you use certain websites like applications. Open the website you’d like to pin in Chrome, then press the menu button (three horizontal bars in the upper-right corner). Click “more tools,” then “add to Task Bar.” A small window will appear, with a single option inside: “Open as a window.” enable this if you want the website to appear as a single, self-contained window, but leave it blank if you want to create a new Chrome tab every time you click the icon.
Click “add.” At the time of writing there’s a bug that makes the app shortcut go to the Windows 10 Start Menu instead of the Task Bar. Click the Start Menu, then start typing the name of the site. When it appears, right-click the entry and then click “send to Task Bar.” The website’s icon will appear on your Task Bar. If you select “open as a window,” this tool is a great way to keep websites open in Chrome without losing them in the tab bar. It’s also handy for websites that act as apps themselves, like Gmail or Spotify.
Links from the less popular Firefox browser can be added to the All Apps section of the Start Menu in the same way as Internet Explorer links mentioned above: drag the site icon to the desktop, then copy it into the Programs folder you opened in File Explorer. Unfortunately, Firefox doesn’t have an integrated way to pin shortcuts to the Task Bar like Chrome does. However, there’s a way to make these shortcuts easy to access in a different way.
In your File Explorer window, right-click an empty area of the Programs folder and click “new folder.” (This folder can actually be anywhere on your computer, we’re just using this location for expediency.) Name the folder “Firefox bookmarks.” Now right-click and empty area of the Task Bar and select “Toolbars,” then “New toolbar.” In the window that opens, select the folder you just created in File Explorer (Windows>Users>[your username]>AppData>Roaming>Microsoft>Windows>Start Menu>Programs>Firefox bookmarks).
You’ll see a new area of the toolbar marked “Firefox bookmarks.” Now repeat the process above, dragging the site icon from the left of the toolbar to the Firefox bookmarks folder in File Explorer. You’ll see the link appear in the new toolbar area. Click it and the link will open in your default browser (presumably Firefox). If you want to make the links appear smaller and more like the pinned programs on the left side if the screen, right-click the Firefox bookmarks text and de-select “Show text” to show only the icon.